This Week’s Headlines
VSU to host classes on using fish cages
By JONATHAN CRIBBS
PETERSBURG, Va. (April 18, 2017) — If you’ve got a pond on your farm and you’re looking for another way to diversify your operation, you might want to consider heading to Virginia State University next week.
The university’s aquaculture program is hosting on April 27 a fish cage workshop for anyone with a farm or recreational pond interested in raising fish in cages for profit or personal consumption.
Participants will explore the basics of aquaculture and learn to construct a small cage about 4 feet in diameter and 4 feet deep.
“It could generate some income,” said David Crosby, a university Extension specialist in aquaculture who will oversee the workshop. “Not to live on, but everything you do on a farm you can’t make a living on, but you can do a couple thousand dollars here, a couple thousand dollars there.”
About 350 catfish, for instance, can be raised inside the kind of cage built at the workshop, he said. They can be placed in the water at about 10 inches in size in April and be fully grown by September or October.
At harvest, they’ll be at least a pound or a pound and a half, he said.
That could yield up to 450 pounds of fish, which, if sold at $3 per pound, could earn $1,350.
Some people earn considerably more, housing 10 to 15 cages in large, multi-acre ponds.
Crosby said he encourages students to start by using rainbow trout.
They “tend to be a little easier to work with in cages than the catfish,” he said. “Catfish tend to have a little more issues with diseases.”
Cage materials will be provided but participants are encouraged to bring leather gloves, tin snips, a tape measure, cutting pliers and protective goggles.
The workshop will be held at the university’s Randolph Farm, 4415 River Road, in Ettrick from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Registration is limited to 20 and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
To register, visit the university’s Cooperative Extension events calendar at www.ext.vsu.edu.